The Body and Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is when a person gets an insufficient amount of sleep. The vast majority (more than 90%) of the population in developed countries like the United States fail to get sufficient amounts of sleep, averaging 7 or less hours per night . Sleep deprivation can be acute or chronic; both lead to cognitive impairment and defects in short-term memory . It has also been shown that sleep deprivation can affect mood, increasing irritability and causing low motivation levels.

Effect on Mood

It was found that after 17 to 19 hours without sleeping, healthy adults began to show signs of depression , such as low moods, trouble concentrating , and fatigue . When subjects were allowed a recovery sleep after being deprived for around a day, some had improved moods while others did not . The finding that sleep deprivation can cause depression is important not only for its effects on behavior but also because it is one of the symptoms of major depressive disorder.

Mood changes due to sleep deprivation can be seen in a person’s affect , or facial expression. Depressed people tend to have a sadder affect than those who are not depressed. In addition to sadness, someone with an altered mood may appear less animated and more lethargic than usual. They may even experience changes in body language: they fail to smile and their tone might sound monotonous and flat rather than enthusiastic or concerned. A study exploring child survivors of war found those who were sleep-deprived for a long time as children showed less facial expressiveness .

Effect on Learning and Memory

In addition to changes in mood, sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on cognitive processes such as memory and learning. There are several factors that contribute to these deficits. One is the effect of sleep deprivation on attention span because without enough restful periods of sleeping, a person may experience fatigue, become overstimulated, or feel lethargic during the day. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is another factor because people with ADHD have been shown to have disrupted sleep patterns.

Most of us feel like we never get enough sleep. What can you do to improve your sleep and improve your consciousness during waking hours? How does the body respond to sleep deprivation.

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